Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is an abnormality of the hip joint where the hip socket does not fully cover the ball portion of the upper thigh bone, causing the hip joint to frequently become partially or completely dislocated.

Developmental hip dysplasia, also called DDH (development dysplasia of the hip), is most commonly diagnosed at birth or during well-baby visits as an infant. If your pediatrician notices a discrepancy in their physical examination, like one leg being longer than the other or inconsistency in hip flexibility, they will discuss a treatment plan for your child.

Early intervention is vital in providing optimal outcomes for children with developmental hip dysplasia. If the condition continues untreated, damage to the soft cartilage surrounding the socket will likely present as pain in the hips, at which point further evaluation by your child’s care team is needed.

When diagnosed as an infant, soft bracing with a hip abduction brace typically corrects the problem. Most hip abduction braces, including the common Pavlik Harness, consist of a shoulder harness that attaches to foot stirrups in order to hold the hips in proper, stable alignment and encourage normal development of the hip joint. Your physician will prescribe the appropriate wear time for your child, but most infants complete treatment within three months.

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